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Melanna F. Cox, Greg J. Petrucci Jr., Robert T. Marcotte, Brittany R. Masteller, John Staudenmayer, Patty S. Freedson and John R. Sirard

Purpose: Develop a direct observation (DO) system to serve as a criterion measure for the calibration of models applied to free-living (FL) accelerometer data. Methods: Ten participants (19.4 ± 0.8 years) were video-recorded during four, one-hour FL sessions in different settings: 1) school, 2) home, 3) community, and 4) physical activity. For each setting, 10-minute clips from three randomly selected sessions were extracted and coded by one expert coder and up to 20 trained coders using the Observer XT software (Noldus, Wageningen, the Netherlands). The coder defines each whole-body movement which was further described with three modifiers: 1) locomotion, 2) activity type, and 3) MET value (used to categorize intensity level). Percent agreement was calculated for intra- and inter-rater reliability. For intra-rater reliability, the criterion coder coded all 12 clips twice, separated by at least one week between coding sessions. For inter-rater reliability, coded clips by trained coders were compared to the expert coder. Intraclass correlations (ICCs) were calculated to assess the agreement of intensity category for intra- and inter-rater comparisons described above. Results: For intra-rater reliability, mean percent agreement ranged from 91.9 ± 3.9% to 100.0 ± 0.0% across all variables in all settings. For inter-rater reliability, mean percent agreement ranged from 88.2 ± 3.5% to 100.0 ± 0.0% across all variables in all settings. ICCs for intensity category ranged from 0.74–1.00 and 0.81–1.00 for intra- and inter-rater comparisons, respectively. Conclusion: The DO system is reliable and feasible to serve as a criterion measure of FL physical activity in young adults to calibrate accelerometers, subsequently improving interpretation of surveillance and intervention research.

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Sid Mitchell, E. Michael Loovis and Stephen A. Butterfield

Analyzing data in the exercise sciences can be challenging when trying to account for physical changes brought about by maturation (e.g., growth in height, weight, heart/lung capacity, muscle-to-fat ratio). In this paper, we present an argument for using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) as an approach to analyzing physical performance data. Using an applied example from Butterfield, Lehnhard, Lee, and Coladarci, we will show why HLM is an appropriate analysis technique and provide other examples of where HLM will be beneficial.

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Brigid M. Lynch, Suzanne C. Dixon-Suen, Andrea Ramirez Varela, Yi Yang, Dallas R. English, Ding Ding, Paul A. Gardiner and Terry Boyle

Background: It is not always clear whether physical activity is causally related to health outcomes, or whether the associations are induced through confounding or other biases. Randomized controlled trials of physical activity are not feasible when outcomes of interest are rare or develop over many years. Thus, we need methods to improve causal inference in observational physical activity studies. Methods: We outline a range of approaches that can improve causal inference in observational physical activity research, and also discuss the impact of measurement error on results and methods to minimize this. Results: Key concepts and methods described include directed acyclic graphs, quantitative bias analysis, Mendelian randomization, and potential outcomes approaches which include propensity scores, g methods, and causal mediation. Conclusions: We provide a brief overview of some contemporary epidemiological methods that are beginning to be used in physical activity research. Adoption of these methods will help build a stronger body of evidence for the health benefits of physical activity.

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Juana Willumsen and Fiona Bull

Background: Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for global mortality and a contributor to the increase in overweight and obesity. The Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity identified the need for guidance on physical activity, particularly for early childhood (<5 y), a period of rapid physical and cognitive development. Methods: The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed the first global guidelines on physical activity, sedentary, and sleep behaviors, building upon high-quality systematic reviews. The WHO guideline process is a rigorous, systematic, and transparent method for the development of recommendations, using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation Evidence to Decision framework. It takes into consideration the strength of the evidence as well as values and preferences, benefits and harms, equity and human rights. Results: The authors summarize the first global guidelines on time spent in physical activity, sedentary behavior (including screen time and time spent restrained), and sleep patterns in infants (birth to 1 y of age), toddlers (1–2.9 y of age), and preschoolers (3–4.9 y of age). Conclusions: WHO is actively disseminating and supporting implementation of these guidelines by national adoption and adaptation, through links with early childhood development and the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018–2030.

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Stephanie A. Hooker, Laura B. Oswald, Kathryn J. Reid and Kelly G. Baron

Background: Little is known about how daily fluctuations in health behaviors relate to chronic disease risk. The goal of this study was to examine whether variability in physical activity, caloric intake, and sleep is related to body composition (body mass index and body fat percentage). Methods: Healthy adults (N = 103; 64% female) were monitored for 7 days to assess physical activity (SenseWear Armband), caloric intake (daily food diaries), and sleep duration and timing (Actiwatch Spectrum). Data were analyzed using correlations (between- and within-subjects correlations) and regression. Results: The results demonstrated that variabilities in physical activity, caloric intake, and sleep were unrelated. Caloric intake and sleep variability were unrelated to body composition. At greater levels of physical activity variability, any level of physical activity was protective for body composition. Conclusions: These results suggest that among healthy adults, variabilities in health behaviors may be independent of each other, and physical activity variability may be more strongly related to body composition among those who are less active.

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Jennifer E. McGarry

In her 2019 Earle F. Zeigler address, Jennifer McGarry drew on the 2017 Academy of Management Report “Measuring and Achieving Scholarly Impact” to examine how the field of sport management and the North American Society for Sport Management operationalize impact. She pointed to a broader, more inclusive, and critical examination of impact. McGarry highlighted impact on practice and impact through being explicit, particularly about the ways gender and race affect what we deem to have impact. Finally, she spoke to impact through individual and collective action, such as educating students, scholarship, and policy and advocacy. She provided examples of where we could disrupt the structures that work to maintain the status quo in terms of impact—the in-groups and the out-groups, the metrics and evaluations. She also gave examples of impact that have happened, that are happening, and that can happen even more.

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Margaret McGladrey, Angela Carman, Christy Nuetzman and Nicole Peritore

Background: Rural counties in the United States face daunting structural issues that reduce their populations’ physical activity levels, including geographic isolation as well as deficits in infrastructure, public transportation, health care providers, and funding. Methods: Funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided an opportunity to assess how Extension enhanced the collective impact of systems-level physical activity promotion programming through a multisectoral coalition in Clinton County, Kentucky. Results: The Extension-led coalition accomplished the 6 essential functions of a backbone support organization by identifying obesity as a critical local issue (function 1: providing overall strategic direction), developing a multisectoral coalition (function 2: facilitating dialog between partners), compiling data on the county’s physical activity infrastructure (function 3: managing data collection and analysis), creating communication channels (function 4: handling communication), organizing community awareness events (function 5: coordinating community outreach), and securing additional grants (function 6: mobilizing funding). The average rating of Extension’s leadership across multiple dimensions by 3 coalition members in a postproject survey was “excellent” on a 5-point Likert scale. Conclusions: Extension is well positioned through their mission, broad community engagement, data collection, needs assessment, community and academic relationships, and embeddedness in local communities to serve as the backbone support organizations for rural physical activity promotion coalitions.

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Mark S. Tremblay

Background: Emerging research shows that the composition of movement behaviors throughout the day (physical activities, sedentary behaviors, sleep) is related to indicators of health, suggesting previous research that isolated single movement behaviors maybe incomplete, misleading, and/or unnecessarily constrained. Methods: This brief report summarizes evidence to support a 24-hour movement behavior paradigm and efforts to date by a variety of jurisdictions to consult, develop, release, promote, and study 24-hour movement guidelines. It also introduces and summarizes the accompanying series of articles related specifically to 24-hour movement guidelines for the early years. Results: Using robust and transparent processes, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the World Health Organization have developed and released 24-hour movement guidelines for the early years: an integration of physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep. Other countries are exploring a similar approach and related research is expanding rapidly. Articles related to guideline development in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia, and by the World Health Organization are a part of this special series. Conclusions: A new paradigm employing 24-hour movement guidelines for the early years that combines recommendations for movement behaviors across the whole day is gaining momentum across the globe.

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Brigid M. Lynch, Andrea Ramirez Varela and Terry Boyle

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Paddy C. Dempsey, Chuck E. Matthews, S. Ghazaleh Dashti, Aiden R. Doherty, Audrey Bergouignan, Eline H. van Roekel, David W. Dunstan, Nicholas J. Wareham, Thomas E. Yates, Katrien Wijndaele and Brigid M. Lynch

Background: Recent updates to physical activity guidelines highlight the importance of reducing sedentary time. However, at present, only general recommendations are possible (ie, “Sit less, move more”). There remains a need to investigate the strength, temporality, specificity, and dose–response nature of sedentary behavior associations with chronic disease, along with potential underlying mechanisms. Methods: Stemming from a recent research workshop organized by the Sedentary Behavior Council themed “Sedentary behaviour mechanisms—biological and behavioural pathways linking sitting to adverse health outcomes,” this paper (1) discusses existing challenges and scientific discussions within this advancing area of science, (2) highlights and discusses emerging areas of interest, and (3) points to potential future directions. Results: A brief knowledge update is provided, reflecting upon current and evolving thinking/discussions, and the rapid accumulation of new evidence linking sedentary behavior to chronic disease. Research “action points” are made at the end of each section—spanning from measurement systems and analytic methods, genetic epidemiology, causal mediation, and experimental studies to biological and behavioral determinants and mechanisms. Conclusion: A better understanding of whether and how sedentary behavior is causally related to chronic disease will allow for more meaningful conclusions in the future and assist in refining clinical and public health policies/recommendations.